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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hugh Falconer   7 November [1864]1

21 Park Crescent | Portland Place N.W.

7th. Novr.

My Dear Darwin

Thanks f〈or your〉 kind and genial note2 〈If there〉 is a spice of dull bante〈r〉 〈now〉 and then in my missives to you, do not interpret them too seriously.

Quoad the Copley.—3 There is a double significance in the award. 1. as regards due appreciation of yourself. 2d. as a determined protest against the profession of religious against scientific faith—lately put forth by Stenhouse Brewster & Co.4 This last was clearly a Set. aimed at two subjects of research   1st. Your Doctrine. 2nd. The question of the antiquity of the human race in reference to the Biblical account

Taking therefore everything into 〈accoun〉t, & which will strike you 〈one or two words missing〉 my going into detail—〈one or two words missing〉 be of great service—and comfort and Solace to your friends, if you could nurse yourself up so as to be able to attend the anniversary meeting of the Royal Socy. on the 30 Novr.5if only for an hour—to receive the award in person.

If this would emperil your health in the slightest degree, no one would for a moment think of it.

But bear the thing in mind as the time approaches

Yours Ever Sinly | H Falconer


The year is established by the reference to the Copley Medal (see n. 3, below).
The Council of the Royal Society of London voted to award CD the Copley Medal on 3 November 1864 (Royal Society, Council minutes).
Falconer refers to the declaration that had been drafted in April 1864 by a group of London chemists, including John Stenhouse, a fellow of the Royal Society, and later signed by David Brewster and twenty-nine other Royal Society fellows. For a discussion of the declaration, see the letter from J. D. Hooker, [19 September 1864] and n. 24.
Because of fears of ill health, CD did not attend the 30 November meeting at the Royal Society (see letter to Hugh Falconer, 8 November [1864], and letter to J. D. Hooker, 26 November [1864]).


Hopes CD will be able to receive the Copley Medal in person. HF sees it as doubly significant in recognising CD’s work and as a protest against the profession of religious as opposed to scientific faith.

Letter details

Letter no.
Hugh Falconer
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Park Crescent, 21
Source of text
DAR 164: 20
Physical description
3pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4662,” accessed on 14 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12